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Police said they issued a dispersal order and used smoke and tear gas after some protesters pelted them with bottles, rocks, burning flares and other objects.

The number of demonstrators swelled as the day wore on, with afternoon estimates ranging from about 1,000 to 2,000 people.

A majority of the arrests came after police took scores of protesters into custody as they marched through the city’s downtown, with some entering a YMCA building, said Sgt. Jeff Thomason, a police spokesman.

Mrs. Quan said that, at one point, many protesters forced their way into City Hall, where they burned flags, broke an electrical box and damaged several art structures, including a recycled art exhibit created by children.

Dozens of officers surrounded City Hall while others swept the inside of the building looking for protesters who had broken into the building, then ran out of the building with American flags before officers arrived.

The protest group issued an email criticizing police, saying, “Occupy Oakland’s building occupation, an act of constitutionally protected civil disobedience was disrupted by a brutal police response today.”

Michael Davis, 32, who is originally from Ohio and was in the Occupy movement in Cincinnati, said Saturday was a very hectic day that started off calm but escalated when police began using “flash bangs, tear gas, smoke grenades and bean bags.”

“What could’ve been handled differently is the way the Oakland police came at us,” Mr. Davis said. “We were peaceful.”

City leaders joined Mrs. Quan in criticizing the protesters.

City Hall is closed for the weekend. There is no excuse for behavior we’ve witnessed this evening,” City Council President Larry Reid said during a news briefing Saturday.

Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, echoed Mr. Reid’s sentiments and said what was going on amounted to “domestic terrorism.”

The national Occupy Wall Street movement, which denounces corporate excess and economic inequality, began in New York in the fall but has been largely dormant lately.

Oakland, New York and Los Angeles were among the cities with the largest and most vocal Occupy protests early on. The demonstrations ebbed after those cities used force to move out hundreds of demonstrators who had set up tent cities.

In Oakland, the police department received heavy criticism for using force to break up earlier protests. Mrs. Quan was among the critics, but on Saturday she seemed to have changed her tune.

“Our officers have been very measured,” Mrs. Quan said. “Were there some mistakes made? There may be. … But quite frankly, a majority of protesters who were charging the police were clearly not being peaceful.”

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